View Full Version : New to plates & need some advice please

04-01-2007, 03:29 PM
Hi all,

I live in the UK & I want to source A camera that can do the 6.5" x 8.5 " negative glass slides, or similar, like they used to do in the early 60's. (I have recently inhereted some slides taken in around 1963 at GEC witton B'ham, advertising their electrical machinery). I dont know anything about how to go obtaining these cameras, how much to pay or using slides or obtaining the slides, or developing them.

If anyone could point me to a relevant thread or get me started on the 'glass' trail that would be great.

I have used 5x4 & developed them in the past so have experience with LF film & cameras & chemicals.

I also own an Arca Swiss 5x4 camera, not the latest version, an earlier type, are plates available for this type of camera ?

Thanks for any help

04-01-2007, 04:56 PM
That's what is called whole-plate or full plate, and there are a few discussions of that sort of thing in this part of the forum.

Getting a camera isn't that difficult. There are lots of them still around, as well as 8x10" cameras with optional whole-plate back.

A little more difficult is getting a plate holder that fits the camera. The exact size wasn't very well standardised, and there are about as many variations as there were cameras!

Next is getting hold of plates - assuming you really want to use plates, and not whole-plate-sized film, of course. The problem with plates is that they largely went out of production about the time the ones you own were exposed...

04-01-2007, 05:09 PM
Oh yes: Plates for 4x5" cameras are still available. Slavich in Russia are still making them, and they were sold by Retro Photographic in the UK.

There are two small snags though: I don't know if they have 4x5" plates - the last I bought were 9x12cm. The new plates are slightly too thick to fit in the fine old Linhof universal film&plate holders, which are otherwise 100% compatible with your Arca Swiss!

Wephota (http://www.wephota.de/fotogra.htm) used to sell plates too, but I couldn't see them in their price list when I checked just now. :(

04-02-2007, 04:17 AM
I have a whole plate camera, a Sanderson.

I tried very hard to source glass plates a few years ago. It was completely impossible, 6 1/2 by 8 1/2 glass plates went out of production very many years ago and no one seems to have any stuck at the back of the warehouse or anything. The very few plates that are made seem to come from eastern Europe or Russia and are 'continental' sizes. (And very expensive!) I even tried writing to various manufactures, all of whom ignored me or said 'forget it'. Kodak was one of the few who replied and said that no way could they supply whole plates at a cost I would want to pay (they still make small glass plates for astronomers, coated with T-Max 100. The cost is scary!)

Wholeplate film wasn't available then, either, so I cut my own.
The good news is it is now available from several suppliers.

Try this one:


I place the film in the holder with an old fogged glass plate behing it to support it, which works very well.


04-02-2007, 09:27 PM

why don't you make your own plates? It's not very difficult with liquid emulsion or collodion techniques.

You can also cut down picture glass to create the back plate required to support your film.

PS - you are also aware of Ilford's FP4+ available in this format?

Best regards.


04-03-2007, 06:11 AM
well thanks to everybody here I am (hopefully) well on my way now.
Bought some liquid emulsion & a LINHOF 4X5 FILM HOLDER with DARK SLIDES -& will get some glass made up at a local glaziers so I can put the emulsioned plates into my 5x4, with this plate/film holder.

04-04-2007, 03:44 AM

why don't you make your own plates? It's not very difficult with liquid emulsion or collodion techniques.

PS - you are also aware of Ilford's FP4+ available in this format?


Oh yes, that is one of my future projects and the reason why I am lurking around the 'making your own emulsions' thread ;)

I have had a long lay off whilst I did a part time degree, now complete, and i'm now trying to get back into photography. I'm going to get a few films shot and developed in 'the conventional manner' before I get back into too many diverse projects, but later... :D

I wasn't aware of Ilford releasing FP4+ whole plate. Is this part of this ULF program I have read about here?

If so I think it is mostly a US phenomena, isn't it? I'm UK based so I've seen nothing here, but odd size film is easier much to get than 10 years ago, ironically at a time when I doubt whether I could find a bottle of developer or a 120 roll film in any shop within 30 miles of my house anymore.. :rolleyes:


04-04-2007, 05:25 AM
Great to hear that Randy & good luck with the Linhof plate holder.

Steven - I found out about the Ilford ULF programme rather late through the internet. It does apply to us in the UK as well. If you contact Simon Galley on this forum, he'll tell you how to order whole plate FP4+ film. There is a short time window (I think) for ordering.

The disappearance of developers isn't as hurtful as that of film - these can be made up in a standard recipe. Film on the other hand, presents huge challenges if the format size isn't available....

Best of luck.

04-05-2007, 11:56 AM
actually I might be interested in a full plate size camera - around 6.5 x 8.5 " does anybody know where I should start looking ?????

04-05-2007, 12:27 PM
actually I might be interested in a full plate size camera - around 6.5 x 8.5 " does anybody know where I should start looking ?????

No idea, but I have a spare 18x24cm plate camera right here! :D

04-05-2007, 01:52 PM
so Ole - what migh I expect to pay for such a camera ? :o

04-05-2007, 02:27 PM
The camera is not going anywhere until May, for the simple reason that I'm not at home to ship it anywhere until then (I'm leaving for Italy tonight).

It's a triple-extension "Englische Type" German plate camera. I think I now have four holders that fit, one set of format reducing adapters, and enough 18x24cm film sheaths for the rest of the holders. And a pack of film. The lens board is fitted with a BIG universal iris lens holder, strong enough to hold any lens that the front standard can hold.

It's the one in the first four pictures HERE. (http://www.bruraholo.no/Cameras/Reisekamera.html) :)

04-05-2007, 02:30 PM
BTW - the lens in the pictures (270mm f:7.2 Aristoplanat) is NOT included.

And I usually put a cigarette pack under the bellow as an extra support when using lenses around 300mm, which is the worst length for bellows sag. It's not a problem under 210mm or over 400mm. :)